On March 25, 2015, hearts around the world were broken when Zayn Malik announced that he was leaving popular boy band One Direction. However, exactly one year following his departure, Malik set out to mend those same broken hearts with the release of his first solo album, “Mind of Mine.”
That being said, if fans were hoping that Malik’s new music would be similar to his work with One Direction, they are definitely in for big disappointment. Unlike the pop tunes that we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from Malik, “Mind of Mine” is a melting pot of genres, including R&B, electronic and hip-hop.
Each song flows together seamlessly, and the listener is never caught off guard by an abrupt change in mood. Instead, Malik allows you to revel in the more emotional moments of the album, even offering a brief recess with the dreamlike track “INTERMISSION: fLoWer” which is sung in Malik’s father’s native language, Urdu.
However, with that flow comes monotony. At times, the songs are difficult to differentiate and seem to almost run together. This similarity between tracks isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as it means that Malik is establishing a defined sound as an artist, allowing listeners to decide whether or not they like the style of his work.
Perhaps the best song on the album is the soulful “fOoL fOr YoU.” Rather than covering up his voice with hazy electronic effects like those found in the majority of the songs, Malik brings it back to basics with verses consisting of only vocals and piano. The stripped back instrumentation allows Malik’s voice to shine through, and the effect is breathtaking.
Overall, “Mind of Mine” is the exact direction Malik needed to take with his career. Now that he’s not confined to the genre and audience of One Direction, Malik is able to tell stories with his music he was unable to before, as well as showcase the range and talent that, until now, fans had only been given brief glimpses of.